There were seventeen cats living in Louie’s basement. Louie wasn’t sure how it got so out of control, but he knew he had a problem when incessant meowing had become the background music for dinner. Louie really thought he was doing the right thing, but it seemed at some point in the last nine months he became a compulsive cat hoarder.
It all started when Pawsie and Meowlofur were left after his sister Shelia’s death. She had asked Louie – while infested with tubes on her death bed – to take her precious felines. Louie had begged her in the hollow hospital room to let someone else have the pleasure, but Sheila was adamant.
“Take the precious ones, Louis. Take them and protect all of-” Sheila’s last words.
“All of what, Sheila? All of the cats?” Louie asked.
Sheila’s head drooped forward.
“Alright, I’ll do my best, sis,” Louis sighed. That was his last memory of his sister.
Fluffington, a black and white tabby, came next while Louie was taking the recycling out the back of the office building he maintained as a janitor. Fluffington, who was nameless at the time, cried under the dumpster while staring at Louie. Louie stomped his feet. The cat meowed. Louie charged the cat. The cat flipped over and rolled in the dirt all the while purring. Louie dropped to his knees and scooped the long-haired cat up.
Caring for the cats became increasingly difficult after he adopted Cat 9, but Louie was a sucker for a furry face and every cat he saw outside without a collar he took back to his little house and put in his basement.
Litter had become so expensive that he decided it was best to just dig a ditch in the basement floor. The ditch was four feet long by two feet wide and roughly a foot deep. Realizing that he dug the ditch for economical purposes, he pondered how expensive filling it with litter would be.
There was a schoolyard down the street with a big sandbox, Louie remembered. Each day he would stroll by careful not to alarm anyone about an older man skulking the play yard. He couldn’t let anyone think he was a weirdo!
After realizing that his pockets were not adequate to transport his free kitty litter, Louie had cut off of the top of a gallon milk container to get sand. He would go to the sandbox at the playground, careful to make sure he was alone. He’d look around, and he’d chop his arm down in one big swoosh like a pendulum and fill the container with sand. He didn’t even miss the days that it rained. Those were the days he was sure to bake the sand and remove any unmentionables along with the dampness.
But the biggest problem of all was food.
How would Louie feed all these cats?
…to be continued…